Category Archives: Injury prevention

“Yoga is a practice, not an achievement”

The title of this post is a quote from the blog article linked below. If you have a minute, please give it a read. It is a great reminder about the true value and meaning of yoga.

Yoga is such an interesting topic. There are many devout followers, but there are also detractors – many of whom are leaders in the strength and conditioning and biomechanics fields. The primary reason these professionals do not often recommend yoga is exactly because of what James MacAdam describes in his blog article titled “Confessions of a Type-A Yogi”. But if more yogis would have the same philosophical transformation about their practice that James has, I suspect most of them would become yoga-supporters.

It’s very well-written and insightful, so if you have a moment, give it a read: http://jamesmacadam.com/2011/02/28/confessions-of-a-type-a-yogi/

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NY Times article: Do Orthotics Work?

The New York Times Health section often carries interesting and somewhat controversial articles, like this week’s article about orthotics. Orthotics are very common, but are they helping? The tone of the article is that they do not, although the specifics are that they do but they’re not sure why.

Take a read, but remember that often articles of this nature do gloss over some important facts while over-emphasizing less important ones to prove a point:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/health/nutrition/18best.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=health

If you only want to skim, skip ahead to page 2 where they discuss the orthotic study they did with 240 Canadian soldiers (yes, we have more than 240 soldiers).

It would have been great if they had included a third group in the study that did single-leg barefoot strength training to try to improve their foot and ankle strength.

My Favourite Training Tools: #4 – the FMS

We’re now into the top five of my blog-series: My Favourite Training Tools (For my American readers, please excuse the ‘u’ in favourite. It’s a Canadian thing). There are probably thousands of tools out there for fitness. Some are ridiculous fly-by-night items (I can’t help but think of the Saturday Night Live commercial spoof of the Shaker Weight) while some have stood the test of time for hundreds of years (kettlebells). In each entry in this blog series, I’ll talk about one of my 10 favourite tools.

Today’s entry features the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This makes my list even though it does nothing to get you strong. That’s because it is an assessment tool. I love this tool because it helps me to see where people have problems with the fundamental way that they move, and then that helps me to create a great training program for them that will not only get them “faster, higher, stronger”, but will also help fix movement dysfunction that they have developed in life. Continue reading My Favourite Training Tools: #4 – the FMS

Functional Training and Bicep Curls

“Why are there no bicep curls?”. This is a question I often hear, probably because I don’t have any of my clients doing bicep curls. Shouldn’t we be working on arms? My answer is that they are doing functional training, and for most people, bicep curls are not functional. If you are a Bavarian waitress, then yes. And if I had one as a client, I would include bicep curls in their program, particularly in the month leading up to Oktoberfest.
Continue reading Functional Training and Bicep Curls

Reducing the Risk of Low Back Pain for Skiers

I had an article published in Ski Pro Magazine this fall, Reducing the Risk of Low Back Pain. For those of you who are skiers but not instructors in Canada, here is the link to the online version of the magazine:

Reducing the Risk of Low Back Pain.

The article is on pages 30 and 31, or you can get to it by typing “low back’ into the search field.

Lessons of the Hip & Spine from Dr. Shirley Sahrmann

This article was written after I had the pleasure of attending a two-day seminar with Dr. Shirley Sahrmann, author of Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. Throughout the course, and then on the eight hour drive home, I had a lot of opportunity to really think about what I learned and its relevance. This article presents a combination of what I learned from Dr. Sahrmann, as well as some of the thoughts it provoked.

I don’t care how much you don’t move
This was a statement she made repeatedly throughout the course, and reflects the premise that it is usually the place that moves too much that is the problem. This is in keeping with her belief of exercise instead of manual therapy as the best approach for addressing movement disorders, because manual therapy typically addresses shortness.
Continue reading Lessons of the Hip & Spine from Dr. Shirley Sahrmann

It’s the small stuff

A good trainer will work to not only make you stronger, more fit, and less squishy, but also to help improve your overall movement and to contribute to healthy joints and tissues. We do this by working on symmetry, and focusing on stability and mobility in the right places. But typically, the time you spend working out is just not enough to counteract the habits we all have throughout the “other 23 hours of the day”.

What habits am I talking about? The way we stand, sit, walk, sleep, watch tv, and drive all impact our bodies. We all have habits that we do every day. Many of them seem to be so minute, and yet we do them so much that in fact we do them in huge volumes. That adds up and can have a big impact on our ability to move well. Do you know what yours are?
Continue reading It’s the small stuff

Golf movement and swing assessment TPI-style

Just back from the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Golf Fitness Instructor certification course, and since I’m a geek, I just had to try the swing assessment even though I’m still travelling. As part of the course, I have the results of my rotational movement assessment using the TPI screen; why not review some video of my swing and compare? As luck would have it, the cottage that I’m at actually has a set of golf clubs in the basement. I’m sure the owner won’t mind me taking an iron out onto the lawn. (Only one divot!)

The TPI assessment includes 11 tests and takes about 10 minutes. For non-golfers, I will integrate some of these tests into my current assessment that includes the Functional Movement Screen. For golfers, I will stick with the TPI screen combined with the swing 2 dimensional video assessment. Continue reading Golf movement and swing assessment TPI-style

Dynamic warmup for skiing

If you’ve ever wondered whether you should do some sort of warmup before a day of skiing, I can provide a simple answer for you: Yes. What you should do is a bit more of a challenge. To help with this, I have created a video that shows a set of 9 activation exercises and dynamic stretches that will help to prepare your body for the ski day ahead.

Each exercise can be done on snow, in your boots, and the only equipment you need is your poles. The warm-up includes: Continue reading Dynamic warmup for skiing

Am I Fit Enough to Play?

When I ask someone if they work out, a common response I hear is “Yes, I run three times a week”, or “yes, I play hockey twice a week and go skiing on weekends”, or “I play ultimate four times a week”. The list of options that people provide after the “yes” is endless, but more often than not, it does not include actual working out.

Participating in sports is good for you on so many levels: physically, socially, intellectually, and even emotionally. But can playing sports be deemed working out? Can you play sports to get in shape?

Continue reading Am I Fit Enough to Play?